How is King Lear presented in the opening scene?
In act 1 scene 1 we are immediately introduced to the character of King Lear, our instant impression of Lear is someone with authority and power, this is how Shakespeare evokes his protagonists at the start of most tragic plays. However as we read on into the latter part of act 1 scene 1 we see an aggressive character whom is becoming decrepit and weak evoking that Lear is a capricious and an unpredictable character. Our understanding of Lear is enhanced not only through Shakespeare’s characterisation but also through his interactions with other characters. The entrance of King Lear is indicated by the change from verse to prose, this creates a greater sense of grandeur and eminence suitable for someone of Lear’s status. Lear is depicted as someone who is dominated by an overwhelming sense of self worth but also a man of power and this is evoked through Shakespeare’s use of language. ‘Give me…’ (I, I, 34) , ‘Speak first…’ (I, I, 53) the use of imperative indicates Lear’s status and prominence as he orders the meer mortals around. Shakespeare evokes that the nature of being a leader endorses arrogance and this is clear in the characterisation of Lear as he states ‘We have this hour a constant…’ (I, I, 42) The use of the royal ‘we’ depicts that Lear feels he is two people in one: the ordinary man, and God’s deputy on earth thus showing his arrogance which is fuelled by the amount of power King’s/he has. King Lear’s portrayal is further displayed through the other characters in the scene for instance during the ‘love test’ we see a character who is defined by vanity and false, fabricated love as he forces his children to publically express there love for him, which results in the giving of his kingdom. ‘Which of you shall we say doth love us most?’ (I, I, 50) this quote further reveals Lear irrationality and eccentricity portraying him as egotistical and self-centred. He is also depicted as a father who actually...
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